via Drudge Report
AI technology is advancing rapidly and scientists are considering the prospect robots will consume their reality in the way a human mind does.
This ability would enable machines to be used on dangerous missions in space and war, helped by their predicted brute physical durability.
But the downside could be fatal, because robots may use this consciousness to rebel against our species and kill us – a prospect Professor Stephen Hawking previously warned of.
Subhash Kak – a Regents Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering – says scientists are up uproar over the terrifying possibility.
Writing in The Conversation, he said: "Waiting in the wings might be a groundbreaking development: a machine that is aware of itself and its surroundings, and that could take in and process massive amounts of data in real time.
"It could be sent on dangerous missions, into space or combat."
He added: "To think of a more frightening scenario, might these machines rebel against humans and wish to eliminate us altogether?
"If yes, they represent the culmination of evolution.
"As a professor of electrical engineering and computer science who works in machine learning and quantum theory, I can say that researchers are divided on whether these sorts of hyperaware machines will ever exist."
Kak opines that robots will be able to beat humans at gathering information and putting it into action, but admits the very definition of consciousness is still up for debate.
He added: "Some believe that consciousness involves accepting new information, storing and retrieving old information and cognitive processing of it all into perceptions and actions.
"If that's right, then one day machines will indeed be the ultimate consciousness.
"They'll be able to gather more information than a human, store more than many libraries, access vast databases in milliseconds and compute all of it into decisions more complex, and yet more logical, than any person ever could."
But he adds some scientists believe robots will never achieve consciousness because human behaviour cannot be replicated by a machine.
Daily Star Online previously revealed how AI could also be thrust into the world of sport, with NFL teams set to use Tom Brady robots in training to help sides prepare for games.